Barbara Maria Williharpsichord
Barbara Maria Willi is an innovative Czech-German harpsichordist and fortepiano player. Her contribution to the development of Early Music in the Czech Republic is significant, lately by founding and leading the first Department of Early Music within a Czech Academic Institution (the Janáček Academy in Brno). She gained her Ph.D. title with a thesis on Basso continuo styles in 17th Century Central Europe (2007) and was awarded her professorship by the Czech president Václav Klaus in 2010 as the youngest holder of that title in the field of Classical Music.
Her studies at the Mozarteum Salzburg (which she finished with excellence) equipped her with the courage of taking musical risks and the taste of never ending search for new sound colours. Jos van Immerseel and Mark Lindley enhanced her love for the instrument and her talent for mixing intonation nuances; Jesper Chistensen was a great inspiration source for her continuo interpretation.
Within the course of her international career Barbara Maria Willi obtained several distinctions as e.g. a Special Mention in the Harpsichord Competition in Brugge (Belgium), an award of the German Music Critics for her CD „Intrada di Polcinelli“ or the prestigious French „Choc du monde de musique“ for the outstanding recording „Salve mater“.
She played at concert halls like the Prague Rudolfinum, the Zürich opera or the Musikhaus Wien. She made appearances at festivals like the Prague Spring Festival, the Osterfestspiele Baden-Baden or the Mitte Europa festival. She was invited by concert series of the Wrocław Baroque Orchestra or the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. She worked and is working with artists like Martina Janková, Magdalena Kožená, Vilém Veverka, Eric Hoeprich, Erich Hoebarth and is currently part of the Ensemble Berlin-Praha with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Czech Television consecrated a musical portrait to her under the title of Bravo – Barbara Maria Willi. Barbara is featuring rediscovered baroque and classical repertory as well as contemporary music for historical instruments in recordings for German, Austrian and Czech Radio stations.
Her programming for the renowned Czech festival Concentus Moraviae has often been provocative and original (e.g. „Flemish storm“, „Great composers and their ennemies“).
The Czech-German keyboard specialist surprises with unexpected viewpoints and very personal interpretations. With her unique fortepiano by F. J. Baumeister, built in 1797, she undertook a research journey to late 18th century vocal and instrumental music of the Czech lands, but started also being active in discovering and inspiring contemporary composers, e.g. with the ensemble Brno Contemporary Orchestra. She is author of a basso continuo detective story under the title: Thoroughbass or – who murdered Counterpoint?